How to make Blanchette's perfect beef fillet

Melissa York
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Blanchette's dish of the day
Tom Storrar, head chef at Soho's Blanchette, on his beef fillet with courgettes, sarladaise potatoes and green peppercorn sauce
I’ve been at Blanchette since the restaurant opened late last year. The beef in this recipe is a new dish on the menu; a restaurant version of steak and chips. I chose it because many of our dishes involve a lot of preparation but this one doesn’t so it’s great to make at home. It adheres to my philosoph­­­y of not overcomplicating things when you’re presenting dishes. Keeping it simple and clean is almost always the best way; if you stick to three or four components, as we do with this dish, that’s usually enough.
The braised octopus with radish, tomato and verjus dressing is another of my favourite dishes on the menu at the moment (verjus is a sharp dressing made with the juices of very young grapes). It changes all the time, though, you get bored of cooking things and move on to something else. I’m told I can’t take our braised lamb shoulder off the menu because people keep coming back for it. It’s between that and our beef fillet for the most popular dish.
The food in the restaurant is inspired by proper French cooking. I don’t use all the modern technology like sous-vides, I attack the food using very traditional cooking methods because these are classic dishes.
The Alary brothers, who started Blanchette, based the whole concept around making dining out a relaxed and fun experience. I still like sit down dinners with three courses and waiters in black tie, but you don’t want that every night. We wanted to create a place with classic dishes, but served in a more casual way. We have a lot of smaller dishes for people to share and live music on Fridays to give it a party vibe come the end of the week.
I was quite a young sous-chef at Bibendum in Chelsea before I joined Blanchette. I’d been at the restaurant for 10 years and I basically got a bit too comfortable there; I wanted to try something a bit more fun and informal.
Most people have their gap year after college, but I had a break from Bibendum and took mine in Australia. I didn’t cook the whole time, but I worked at a chicken butchery, picked melons and worked in a few hotels. I ate a lot of Asian fusion food there; it’s just not pleasant to eat creamy sauces in 40 degree heat.
Tom Storrar introduces beef fillet with courgettes, sarladaise potatoes and green peppercorn sauce
  • 150g – 200g beef fillet
  • 1 x bunch of flat parsley
  • 1 x bunch of basil
  • 30g green peppercorns
  • Bulb of garlic
  • 50g capers
  • 50g anchovies
  • 300ml mayonnaise
  • Chipping or roasting potatoes
  • Duck or goose fat
  • 1 x bunch of thyme
  • 1 X lemon
  • Some good quality French vinaigrette
  • 1 courgette per person, sliced
Green peppercorn sauce;
  • Blanch one bunch of parsley and one bunch of basil (you can use tarragon / chervil instead) then refresh
  • Put 300ml of mayonnaise in a blender with 50g capers, 50g anchovies and 30g of green peppercorns - blitz until smooth
  • Add herbs and blitz again
  • If the peppercorns are very hard, the sauce may need passing through a sieve
For the potatoes;
  • Roughly dice (approx 2cm) some good quality chipping potatoes, and blanche for about four minutes, then leave to steam
  • Sauté the potatoes in duck fat until golden brown. Finish with some chopped garlic, thyme and parsley – turn the heat down before adding the garlic as you don’t want it to burn. (Note: it’s cooking in duck fat that makes the potatoes “sarladaise”; traditionally they are served with confit duck leg. Named after the town of Sarlat-la-caneda).
  • Meanwhile heat a grill and season the beef fillet. Chargrill the beef until nicely charred (50g fillet needs about five mins on the grill) then set aside somewhere warm to rest­
  • Season long slices of courgette and grill. When they come off the grill, toss in some vinaigrette mixed with a little chopped garlic and lemon zest.
  • Slice beef and arrange with courgettes , potatoes and the peppercorn sauce